THE BUMP IS HERE – AT 10:07 A.M. ET: Scott Rasmussen reports that Barack Obama, who was two points ahead of Mitt Romney before their first debate, is now two points behind.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and two percent (2%) are undecided.
These results are based upon nightly interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, only about two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were conducted after the presidential debate. Sunday morning’s update will be the first national polling based entirely upon post-debate interviews.
Still, the numbers reflect quite a debate bounce for Romney. Heading into Wednesday’s showdown, it was the president who enjoyed a two-point advantage. Today is the first time Romney has been ahead by even a single point since mid-September. As with all bounces, it remains to be seen whether it is a temporary blip or signals a lasting change in the race.
Both men have solidified their partisan base. Romney is supported by 89% of Republicans and Obama by 88% of Democrats. Among those not affiliated with either major party, Romney leads by 16.
The generation gap remains wide. Obama leads by double digits among those under 40. Romney leads by double digits among those over 40.
It's encouraging to see Romney's lead among independents. And, while Obama still has a "youth" advantage, it appears from other reports we've seen that this advantage is less than in 2008.
Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 28% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13 (see trends).
During midterm elections, intensity of support can have a tremendous impact on turnout. That was demonstrated in 2010 when Republicans and unaffiliated voters turned out in large numbers to express opposition to the Obama administration’s policies. However, in presidential election years, there is a smaller impact on turnout.
COMMENT: This is no time for overconfidence. It is the time for Romney to run as if he's 20 points behind. What he needs is ratification of his first debate performance – demonstrating to voters that he's the real thing, that it wasn't a fluke.
I still find it remarkable that a failed president and stumbling campaigner like Obama can still attract 47% of the vote. It demonstrates the power of cultural voting. It may also show some voter inattention. And yet, a president polling under 50% is always in trouble.
Pour it on. This week's debate between the always-there Paul Ryan and the never-there Joe Biden should be intriguing. It's on the 11th. Be there.
October 6, 2012